Welcome to Save Maer Hills
Maer Hills is a range of wooded hills between Newcastle and Market Drayton in the parish of Maer and Aston. Maer Hills are cherished by very many people who appreciate the peaceful natural countryside, the beautiful views and the wide variety of plant and wildlife. The area was also a favourite of Charles Darwin who often walked over the hills and where he carried out some of his early natural observations which helped form his evolutionary thinking.
The Maer Hills Protection Group was established in 1992 when the area was threatened by development. Following a vigorous campaign the development was rejected by the Secretary of State in May 1994. Further attempts to develop the site for sand and gravel quarrying and a housing and golf course proposal were successfully defeated.
Since then the Group have continued to be active and vigilant, keeping up to date on national planning policies and consulting on strategic and local plans.
In September 2006 a new threat appeared - a proposal by Claymoss Properties (a director of which company had previously purchased approximately 388 acres of working forest on Maer Hills) for a so called "Eco Village" with up to 800 lodges, hotels, golf course, entertainment centre etc. powered by four 400 foot high wind turbines.
Many objections to the proposals were voiced and the developers subsequently dropped plans for the "Eco Village", but in June 2008 they submitted a planning application for four 125 metre high wind turbines. (This followed an application for a 60 metre test mast to replace two masts which had earlier been approved, on appeal, by the Planning Inspector).
Another very vigorous campaign followed culminating in over 2,500 people writing to strongly object to this proposal which would have so drastically changed the landscape and tranquillity of this cherished area. In February 2009 Newcastle Borough Council rejected the application for a total of thirteen planning reasons.
The Protection Group are extremely grateful for the tremendous support received throughout the campaign and particularly thank all those who wrote expressing their concerns. Without this level of support the outcome might well have been very different.
In October 2010 we learned that the land had been sold by the previous owner to a timber company who intend to operate it as a working forest.
In November 2010 the test mast was removed with the comment from West Coast Energy, the renewable energy company involved, that they "had no further interest in the site".
The Maer Hills Protection Group is happy with the current situation but will remain active and vigilant. The website will be retained and appropriate events, such as guided woodland walks, will continue to be organised. The balance of the funds not already spent on the campaign to date will remain in the bank until such time as any potential future threat to Maer Hills has been eliminated.